This list will cover: Broadcasting Software, Tracking Services, Donation Services, Chat Bots and IRC Chat Programs and some miscellaneous programs.
Streaming, like anything else can be a tough mistress. It requires knowledge of a lot of software to get the desired outcome. To help aspiring and experienced streamers alike to get over this hurdle I’ve decided to compile a list of tools which streamers can use to make their lives easier. I’m talking quicker setup times and less headaches. This isn’t a comprehensive list, you’re not required to use all or even any of these tools but it’s a good starting place for any streamer who’s looking to up their stream game.
What better place to start then at the most necessary thing for a streamer. Broadcasting program, without any there is simply no stream at all. These softwares will allow you to broadcast your media to the masses on the internet via streaming websites for example Twitch.
OBS: OBS stands for Open Broadcast Software, it’s a free software that has been around for a long time. It’s easy to use and has a huge amount of documentation online to help get you up and running in no time. It’s open source nature will help you expand on the software as well, meaning you can always add to your experience as you go along and boy there are a lot of free plugins for OBS. It’s the software I would recommend people starting off with due to it’s easy to use nature but it’s not the only option out there!
XSplit: XSplit is the second biggest software for streaming. XSplit is very similar to OBS in terms of functionality. However, there is a big catch compared to OBS. That is, while the software offers many free features, most of XSplits features are locked behind a paywall. This is one of the reasons why many people prefer OBS. However, one major benefit of being a paid product is that they provide phenomenal support around the clock. It’s a bit flashier than OBS and while not as easy to use it’s still relatively easy to grasp. To get the full experience though you will need to pay $4.17 – $8.32 a month depending on the length of the license.
Consoles: Another acceptable option would be to use Twitch’s streaming services that are built directly into the PS4 & Xbox one. They vary slightly depending on which console you are using but they both end up with the same result. It’s as simple as turn on a game and starting the stream. There is a drawback though, streaming directly from the console will leave you limited in options if you want to spruce up your stream. It’s a great way to try out streaming without any extra cost on top of the console however so I recommend trying at least once.
Tracking services keep track of specific data that can be beneficial to streamers. This can be tracking follower information for notifications or just showing your Twitch channel statistics in depth.
Streamlabs: Previously known as Twitch-Alerts. Streamlabs has become one of the most popular tracking services for streaming. This service allows you to track a huge amount of data in the background and then show that data in the form of notifications. Anything from when a viewer follows to donations. This website will keep track of it all for you as you stream. All you have to do is connect your Twitch chat then follow the instructions given for the desired feature you want from the service.
Streampro: Streampro is a similar utility to Streamlabs it allows you to track various conditions. The web based platform which allows you to create custom conditions to trigger notifications. An example of this can be a “Follow Train” notification which could trigger on consecutive follows. Streampro offers great customization however I find the simplistic design harder to use compared to Streamlabs. One great feature Streampro offers over Streamlabs however is a overlay editor which can be very handy for events. However it can be laggy and clunky at best so expect varying experiences when using it.
Unless you are partnered on Twitch you won’t be getting an income at all but that’s where donations come in. If streamers choose to have a donation option for viewers to use they can receive donations from generous viewers to help support their streaming endeavours.
Streamlabs: Making a second appearance on this list is Streamlabs. As mentioned before this website tracks a lot of information and that also includes donations. Streamlabs allows you to receive donations on their website. Make a page that you can link to your viewers, which you can tie to your PayPal account. The website also allows you to track all your previous donations.
Stream Tip: What used to be the most popular donation solution for streamers until Streamlabs came along. Unlike Streamlabs, Stream Tip is a service that charges a small fee based on your earnings. This allows for a service with fraud prevention features and enables you to receive a wide variety of different currencies. With an easy to use interface that allows you to track donations, it’s a great way to analyze your income.
TreatStream: This site allows viewers to donate food which they can send directly to your house as you stream. I’ve never used this one personally but I hear it’s a successful site which puts a spin on donations.
Managing an active chat while also busy with being an entertainer and playing the game is an incredible hard thing to do. However don’t fret as there are solutions out there to help you manage your chat even if a moderator is not about. They are called ChatBots. ChatBots provide automated moderation for your chat without the need for your constant interaction and attention, as well as adding unique features to your chat.
AnkhBot: By far my favorite bot to date. Taking a different approach compared to other bots which use a website interface, AnkhBot is software which is installed onto your pc. It comes pre-equipped with features for users as well as the ability to add custom features as well. These features include, but are not limited to: a console to monitor the bot and chat, commands, timers, quotes, giveaways, SFX, currency systems, mini games, events, song requests and a queue system. Everything and more that you could ever need as a streamer.
MooBot: The oldest bot on this list, introduced back in the Justin.tv days. This bot has a huge variety of features, delivered to the user via a web-based interface. It’s similar to other web-based bots like NightBot however it does lack some social features other bots have. Moobot is free to use but it does have some paid services as well.
Nightbot: NightBot been around since the beginning of Twitch.tv. Its mainly used as a moderator bot but it does offers some social features, for example song requests. It also runs via a web client. It’s easy to customize and use and is usually recommended for newer streamers due to it’s ease of access.
Deepbot: The newest bot on the scene at the moment is Deepbot. Deepbot is very similar to Ankhbot, it’s a client-based bot. Deepbot however goes above and beyond with some recently added integration features. The ability to connect Discord and stream related sites like gamewisp is quickly making DeepBot a one stop bot experience. If that’s not enough they have a 24/7 support team who will help in a streamers time of need.
IRC Chat Programs
Twitch Chat is very limiting when it comes to customization, you’re pretty much stuck with limited options like name color and badge selection. However this doesn’t have to be the case as you can use an IRC program to access your Twitch chat and these IRC programs come chock-full of appearance options to help personalize your chat to your liking.
HexChat: While there are multiple IRC programs out there the one I would recommend personally is HexChat, it’s a free open-source program that allows you to connect to any IRC you can think of even Twitch channel chats with only a few simple steps. The best feature I find in this program is the ability to connect to multiple chats using multiple windows in the program. It’s a great alternative to the standard Twitch chat.
Chatty: Chatty is a dedicated IRC program with the sole purpose of connecting to Twitch chat. Chatty lets you customize any Twitch chat in a huge variety of ways. You can change your font style and font size, you can even set up a sound alert to trigger when something specific is typed in chat. Lastly it can also allow you to track channel statistics on the fly. It’s easier to use than other IRC programs but it’s also limited compared to those other programs.
Miscellaneous Programs / Services
BetterTTV: If you want to overhaul your entire experience on Twitch then BetterTTV is for you it’s a plugin for chrome (and other browsers) which adds lots of features to Twitch. For example, if you want to change that horrible white interface to a nice sleek grey interface, add more emotes to your chat emote list or even be alerted when you’ve been mentioned in chat. This is only scratching the surface of this plugin.
FrankerFaceZ: FrankerFaceZ provides similar features to BetterTTV; it’s mostly down to personal preference as to which one you use. It is easier to upload your own custom emotes and to find other people’s using FFZ relative to BTTV, but FFZ does not support GIF emotes whereas BTTV does. The great thing is that there is no reason not to just use both plugins, granting you all the emotes and features of both.
SocialBlade: SocialBlade is a great place to find statistics about your growth on a multitude of sites like Twitch or YouTube. While I don’t recommend focusing too much on follower and view counts as it never displays a accurate picture for your channel’s success, it can be good information to know ever once in awhile to gauge your growth.
Foobar: A great open source music player which I highly recommend for streamers, it gives you great customization features to tune the program to your liking. The main reason I suggest this music player over others like itunes is due to the sheer amount of user made content this player gets. One such content would be NowPlaying which allows you to display the currently playing song in a text file which you can use in streaming programs to display the current playing song to your viewers.
ClickToTweet: Streaming is a social affair, so having a presence on social websites is a must if you are looking for growth. The most important site by far is Twitter, this is because it’s easy to get your brand out on Twitter but it can be long and tedious at times. That’s where ClickToTweet comes in, it allows you to create a custom linkable pre-made tweet which you can give to others to tweet out. For more information check out my guide on the site here: http://www.twitchdoctor.com/how-to-click-to-tweet/
TweetDeck: TweetDeck is great for letting you check all your Twitter information on one page, it’s not a necessary thing but it certainly does make it easier to keep track of everything.
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